Friday, July 23, 2010

You say tomato . . .

My friend Anna is crazy for macarons and has already decided she's having a tower for her wedding cake.

Not too sure on Adriano's kalamata olive take on the classic!

There seems to be some confusion in the food fraternity (or perhaps it's outside the fraternity where the confusion lies!)

Is it macaron . . . or macaroon?

Wikipedia says:

A macaron is a sweet confectionery. Its name is derived from an Italian word "maccarone" or "maccherone". This word is itself derived from ammaccare, meaning crush or beat, used here in reference to the almond paste which is the principal ingredient. It is meringue-based: made from a mixture of egg whites, almond flour, and both granulated and confectionery sugar.

The confectionery is characterized by its smooth, domed top, ruffled circumference, and flat base. Connoisseurs prize a delicate, egg shell-like crust that yields to a moist and airy interior. The French macaron differs from macaroons in that it is filled with cream or butter like a sandwich cookie, and can be found in a wider variety of flavors that range from the traditional (raspberry, chocolate) to the exotic (truffle, matcha tea).

The Melbourne Gastronome agrees:

Yes, I'm one of those food wankers that goes cuckoo for macarons. And yes, I'm a tiresome pedant when it comes to calling them 'macarons', NOT 'macaroons'. If you found this page by googling "best macaroooooons in Melbourne", I submit the following for your consideration:

A macaron is a variety of French petit four made from two halves of almond meringue with a filling (often a ganache) in the middle.

A macaroon is most commonly a sort of chunky biscuit, often containing large quantities of desiccated coconut (or sometimes almond), popular in Scotland and the US.

Her blog on the best sort in Melbourne is fabulous and definitely worth checking out here.

Wouldn't these make a gorgeous present, when you're not really giving a gift?

So I'll stick with the foodies and call them macarons from now on. I just know that someone will correct me and act all smart and 'French', but I'll stick Claire on to them and see how they fare!

Wouldn't these be fab take home gifts at a baby shower, 60th birthday or Bastille Day celebration?

Macarons are all the buzz since the Masterchef special, but I've been on the bandwagon for ages. I just love them, they're so colourful and decadent yet delicate and sinful.

I'm yet to attempt to make them myself, but am planning a working bee with the girls to perfect the art. I think they'll make lovely Christmas presents and figure I've got five months to get my technique sorted!

The shop window of the Champs Elysees Laduree boutique. Ah-mazing.

Scouring the internet for flavour inspiration and colour combinations, I saw the name 'Laduree' pop up again and again.

It is the godfather of all things macaron and with stores all over the world, it prides itself on its perfect macarons and other pastries.

Can you imagine dining in such an elegant setting? You'd feel like Marie Antoinette!

The salon at the Champs Elysees store

Their flavours include:

Chocolate - Bitter Chocolate - Vanilla - Coffee - Rose - Pistachio - Raspberry - Blackcurrant Violet - Caramel with salted butter - Red Fruits - Orange Blossom - Liquorice - Lemon

And they celebrate each season with a new flavour such as Jasmin Mango

The store in Harrods, London. Squeal!

From Scratch has a stall at the Adelaide Showground Farmers Markets every Sunday

Here in Adelaide, we've been swept up in the macaron craze and have the farmers markets and street stalls to thank for our obsession with the crisp little treats.

From Scratch Patisserie has a lot to answer for with Radelaideans going crazy over their colourful range. For me, it's their presentation that impresses - they package them up in egg cartons and string for you to take home, and display them in old round wooden cheese cases, highlighting the rainbow of colours and flavours on offer.

The strawberry macarons with white chocolate and strawberry puree cream were a hit at Bree's farewell brunch and doubled as a gorgeous centrepiece for the table.

So while you say tomato, I'll say macaron.

Pics from, From Scratch and Laduree

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Sunshine Award

I was tickled pink to receive a Sunshine Award from Letitia at The White Shed over the weekend.

Time to bare all and give you all a little insight into my life . . .

  1. I was picked in Farmer Jon's top ten in the first season of Farmer Wants a Wife and was supposed to fly to Sydney for filming, but had to turn it down because I'd accepted a new job at a law firm. Three years on and I'm still single and no longer in that job . . . wrong decision, maybe!?!?

  2. I rolled my car on a dirt road three years ago, following my (then) boyfriend along a back road in the Barossa Valley. Wrote it off and have had a fear of sliding ever since.

  3. I'm a meat snob. My dad worked in the meat industry for more than 35 years and owned his own wholesale business, meaning we got the pick of the best meat going around. Minute steak is a swear word in our house. Give me a thick porterhouse, medium rare, and I'm all yours! (Apologies to any vegetarians out there!)

  4. Pic found by Kimbo

  5. My three best friends all live interstate. Am starting to get a complex that I smell or something! Thank goodness for Michelle, I think she's staying put (fingers crossed!). Love her guts x

  6. I've always wanted to run through cornfields, like the kids in Forest Gump (minus the scary dad, thanks!)

  7. I love tuna mornay. Nothing beats my Mum's basic, so simple version. Start with a roux, add tuna and corn, top with breadcrumbs and cheese and stick under the griller. So not sophisticated, but I love it with hot buttered toast.

  8. Dad and me with the sacred Ashes at Lord's, London in 2005

  9. My dream job is to be the Media & Communications Manager for the Australian Cricket Team on an Ashes tour of England. Each of my last three bosses have laughed when I've told them that in my job interviews! One day . . .

  10. I'm scared of birds. Bree had to find a new housesitter when I refused to collect the eggs from the chook yard. They just flap, and peck and ergh, scare the life out of me!

So there you have it, some random facts about moi. Time to pass on the baton to . . . Lindsey at All Things Bright And Beautiful. Looking forward to her colourful insight!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

I'm counting the sleeps . . .

. . . until this all star cast graces my screen and makes staying home in your ugg boots totally acceptable!

Is anyone else completely excited by the prospect of another Secret Life of Us success story?

I know, they're never as good as the promos make them out to be, but I'm hopeful this one defies the odds and actually delivers on old fashioned, true blue humour, drama, love and fun.

This calls for Maggie Beer ice cream and Allen's retro party mix.

Lill, I know you're as excited as I am!

To read more about it, click here

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A girl after my own heart

This afternoon, I felt like Indiana Jones standing on top of a cave of treasure.
I had found my own pot of gold. Krista Ewart.
A miracle worker. A magician. A queen of colour.
Anyone who uses pink stripes on a bathroom ceiling is a hero of mine.
(And did you notice the pic above is from a Greek edition of Domino!?)

Polka dots.

Pink and white!

Flowers, zebra and COLOUR!

Get a load of that pink bedside table! Think I need to find me one of those! What a perfect breakfast.



The love affair continues!
To read more about Krista and the story behind the beach house featured in some of the pics above, check out her story in House Beautiful.
And drool over her website here.
Thanks to Lindsey from All Things Bright and Beautiful for introducing me to the gorgeous work of Krista.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Date with design

What a fabulous weekend I just had!
I was completely spoilt in the company of the fabulous Kim and Emma on Saturday when they popped over to my little place for a working bee.
The deal was, their creative input in return for a hearty meal.
Sure, the corn fritters were good (if I do say so myself!) but I think I was the one who got the better end of the deal.
Oh what fun we had!
First stop was Hindmarsh Disposals on Port Road. If it wasn't for Emma's enthusiasm and vision, I'm sure Kim and I would've turned around and run from the place - what greeted us were aisles and aisles of . . . well, junk.
Emma steered us through the massive warehouse, opening our eyes to the treasures before us.
Oh, to have her vision!

Next stop was a little upholsterer on Marion Road. Nothing really took our fancy (or fit within my budget, to be more precise!) until Kim spotted a gorgeous bamboo bedhead in the op shop next door.

The 'closed' sign on the door was no issue to dear Emma. Armed with a Mary Poppins bag of tricks, she pulls out a tape measure and starts measuring up the bedhead for my own room - from the outside of the shop!

Ladies, perseverence (and a sweet smile) always pays off as the door was quickly opened by the shop owner who appreciated our efforts to analyse this piece of furniture. Emma saw potential in the bamboo bedhead that I would've otherwise considered quite grandma like, but $45 later, I was convinced otherwise.

"Bargain", they asssured me.

"Imagine it in yellow or green against your navy and white quilt cover."

I'm sold.

Once we got home from our junk travels, Emma set to work on my cluster wall - something I've been wanting to do for ages.

Now, I don't have an eye for this type of thing but watching Emma at work was like poetry in motion - everything she did was perfect, with no effort at all - just natural talent!

She did a fabo job with the cluster wall and has left room for it to grow. I really want a painting of a vase of flowers, and would love an armchair picture.

"It will evolve," the design gurus Kim and Emma assure me.

Thank you Ikea, you've done me proud with those frames!

A collection of etsy purchases, Portabello Road finds, antique shop treasures, reminders of my travels and hand-me-downs from my Granny.

We did very well at Hindmarsh, coming away with two lamp bases (the one on the left we plan to paint), one lamp shade (very kitch but cool raw silk), one gold frame, one chipped glass vase, one bedside table and a rustic and 'very Emma' nautical rope and pulley.

Oh, and one very cool pink 'pleather' cushion.

Note the very cool bedhead in the background - I'll spare you the drama of trying to fit it in the car. Let's just say I'm surprised my Dad and I are still talking!
(Yep, I'm 27 and still not trusted with the family car!)

Thank you so much to the darling Kim and Emma for babysitting me all day - their patience with my amateur appreciation of all things 'style' was endless and I'm so grateful for their interest in my little project.

Can't wait for the next chapter in our 'date with design'


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Ta da!

Inspiration for my very own blackboard door in my kitchen, thanks to the great vision of Letitia from The White Shed.

Who would've thought that a simple coat of paint could inspire so much creativity and fun in the kitchen!?

It sounded so simple . . .

But five minutes in, I was exhausted, bored and second guessing my decision!

However, I persevered and after two coats and a near fainting incident (my first run in with turps, ergh!), I had a gorgeous, slick glossy blackboard.

Now, what to put on it?
Lucky for me, the gorgeous Emma and Kim 'white and wandered' their way over to my place on the weekend to inject some creativity into my little project.
Emma risked split nails and grazed knuckles to prep the board with an initial coat of chalk - breaking in the board to give it a weathered look. She knows her stuff, this one!
While Kim and I washed down our brunch with some early morning bubbles (it's never too early to drink sparkling!) Emma toiled away in the cold laundry/kitchen doorway and completely delivered on the most charming little illustration you could imagine. It's gorgeous!

The books are those featured on my own coffee table, and the cute little frames play home to some postcards I bought in Paris.

And that quote? Gorge!
The pic is complete with vase of flowers and bucket of wood, evoking a real sense of 'home' and comfort. Can't wait to use it as a gallery for cards, invites and photos.
It was such a lovely start to a perfect day - stay tuned for more pics of our junk adventures.
In the meantime, have a sneak peek here - Kimbo got the best pic of Emma at work!

Thank you, my lovelies!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Queen of Frills!

I've always claimed to be the Queen of Frills so thought all my Christmases had come at once when the gorgeous bride Jo allowed me the pleasure of choosing my own bridesmaid dress.

Frills were the order of the day - and stiff ones at that. Lots of people have been asking for a shot of my dress, so I've pulled one from the official gallery on Mink Studio's site. Go check it out for more gorgeous shots - never have I seen the Torrens look so pretty!

And snaps for Alli Lynch at Betrothed - she completely 'got' what I wanted with this dress. I said stiff, taffeta, frills and bows - and she got it all! You can't really see in this pic, but she even put a layer of netting in between the taffeta around the collar to make it stand up - you can kind of see it in the reflection in the mirror. Stu-u-ning.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Colour makes the world go 'round

Hooray! I have stumbled across the most gorgeous blog and have developed a new crush on colour - all thanks to Lindsey over at All Things Bright and Beautiful.

What a stunning site she's created - and that backdrop on her blog? Delicious!

Please do go and check out her work - it's so much fun and a perfect cure to the Aussie winter blues! The family room she features above is my new inspiration, and I'm thinking of experimenting with coloured inserts in the back of my white Ikea shelving. That turquoise is a gorgeous contrast to the rainbow of colours created by her piles of books. LOVE!

Happy weekend people xo